Director Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant is arriving five years after the release of Prometheus, Scott’s quasi-prequel to his touchstone 1979 sci-fi/horror classic, Alien. The esteemed filmmaker has continued to remain prolific in terms of his directing output even with his 80th birthday on the horizon, having on average released about one new film every year for most of the past decade. Now that Scott is doubling-down his efforts on expanding the Alien franchise, it sounds as though audiences won’t have to wait another five years between installments.

20th Century Fox alluded to Scott’s post-Covenant plans for the Alien franchise when it announced the Prometheus sequel’s official title, referring to the movie as being “the second chapter in a prequel trilogy” to Scott’s original Alien. The filmmaker himself has now indicated that he should be ready to begin principal photography on the third chapter in the Alien prequel trilogy within a year (or less) of Covenant hitting theaters this year.

In a larger report about Alien: Covenant published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Scott even confirmed that the Covenant sequel has already been written, explaining his reasoning for being prepared ahead of time:

“You’ve got to assume to a certain extent success and from that you’d better be ready. You don’t want a two-year gap. So I’ll be ready to go again next year.”

Scott didn’t mention who was responsible for writing the Alien: Covenant sequel’s script during said article, but there’s a strong possibility that John Logan is the screenwriter in question. Logan collaborated with Scott on his Best Picture Oscar-winning Gladiator and was brought onboard to write the Covenant screenplay with Dante Harper (the uncredited writer of the original Edge of Tomorrow script draft), drawing from earlier drafts written by Michael Green (Logan) and Jake Paglen (Transcendence). It’s plausible then that Logan, potentially working in collaboration with Harper, further plotted out where the Covenant sequel will go story-wise, at the same time that he and Scott planned out the director’s vision for the second and third chapters in his Alien prequel trilogy, following Prometheus.

There’s little reason to doubt that Scott will be ready to roll camera on the Covenant sequel by next year; the filmmaker himself even reckons he can “keep cranking” out Alien movies for another six years. Covenant is on-course to perform well enough at the box office for Fox to justify moving forward with a sequel too, based on the positive buzz generated by the film’s trailers and its May release date putting Covenant in a position to thrive commercially. Perhaps the bigger question then is which (if any) of the characters in Covenant make it out of the film alive – and will moviegoers approve of how Scott ultimately connects the events of Prometheus with the original Alien?

Unfortunately, those fans who have been holding out hope that Neill Blomkamp’s proposed Alien sequel will eventually come to fruition, this update from Scott may be yet another nail in the coffin of that movie’s chances of landing a green-light…